Writing in Digital Environments

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Class Policies and Daily Syllabus


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CO302 Writing in Digital Environments

Fall 2015

Instructor: Jeremy Proctor

Office: Eddy 311

Office Hours:

11:00 to 12:15 TR and by appointment

E-mail (anytime, but be patient for responses; leave your name and class): proctorj@rams.colostate.edu

Course Description:

Like other 300 level composition courses, CO302 emphasizes writing processes with specific attention to revising and editing, and critical reading processes with attention to reading from a writer’s point of view.  CO302 focuses specifically on the analysis and production of texts in electronic formats. The goal is to prepare you to write as a member of a society in which increasing amounts of public and social discourse takes place online. In this course, you will explore the rhetorical and cultural contexts in which electronic texts occur, and practice strategies for interpreting and producing these texts.

The purpose of this course is not to produce expert web designers or computer coders; these are professions in their own right, and one class could never provide all the knowledge and practice necessary. The goal for this course is to learn how to approach online communication rhetorically:

  • What are the affordances of various online spaces over non-digital print forms of publication?
  • How does one determine one’s audience when an online text can potentially be accessed by people around the globe?
  • How, as consumers of online texts, do we determine the reliability of what we read, see, and hear online?
  • As producers of online texts, what do we need to know technically and consider rhetorically to effectively communicate?
  • How do the enhanced multimodal components of online communication alter the rhetorical situation for readers and writers?

In order to compose online, we will learn the basics of the technologies that allow us to create web pages, blogs, and the digital audio, video, and still images that often make up parts of websites. The technological emphasis will be on learning and using the WordPress blogging software and understanding (but not necessarily using) the various technologies available for producing multimodal content (audio, video, and image production) and built from the ground up websites (XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash, HTML5, etc.). Your success in the class does not depend upon your ability to become a computer geek in 16 weeks; it depends upon your efforts to analyze your rhetorical situation and learn the technologies necessary for you to effectively produce online texts that meet the needs of that rhetorical situation.

Finally, while ample resources will be provided, many of the online texts we study will be supplied by you—as will much of the design of the texts you produce. In other words, your interests and questions about writing online will remain the center of this course.

Course Philosophy

Central questions of the course
What do you really want to get out of life?
What can you offer the world that no one else can?

In the most general of terms, this semester in CO302 we will collectively endeavor to discover (with research, reading, practice, and presence), connect (by engagement, active learning, pattern recognition, peer-review, and critical thinking), and share (through creation, communication, and service) something that matters, something that will contribute to making our lives better.  Individually, through a sustained process of presence and practice, you will discover and connect with something you feel strongly about, then share that passion with a specific audience, (in this case, our presentation mode will be the web)—a process which manifests possibility.

“In a world whirling so fast and so knotted together as it is, traditional approaches to text net us little in the way of understanding what it means to be human today.” ~Dene Grigar

“Confidence is the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.” ~Susan Piver

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

Required Materials:

  • Steal Like an Artist, Kleon ISBN: 978-0-7611-6925-3

Recommended (But Not Required) Materials (not available in the bookstore):

  • Compose, Design, Advocate 2nd edition, Wysocki and Lynch ISBN: 978-0-205-69306-1

Assignments and Grading*:

Your course grade is based primarily on the quality of your written work, on the quality and consistency of your classroom and technology participation, and on your execution of various class exercises and out-of-class assignments.  Specific grading criteria for the various class assignments will be discussed in more detail as we begin work on each section.  The course grade will be calculated as follows:

  • Design Plan and Mood Board 5%


  • Website and Blog 25%


  1. Website                                 10%
  2. Blog                                       10%
  3. Reflective Analysis               5%                                      
    • Blog/New Media Analysis 10%


    • Research Journal 10%


    • Homework/Discussions/Quizzes/In-Class Work 10%


    • Peer Reviews 5%


    • Longform Webtext 25%


    • Technology Presentation 5%
    • Participation 5%

Paper Format: 

All papers must be computer-generated using a 12-pt font (preferably Times New Roman or the like) with one-inch margins and must include a heading (name, date, class, and assignment) on the first page and last name and page number on the second page and beyond.  Discussions and traditional written assignments must be submitted through Canvas (unless otherwise stated) with all rough drafts/revisions and peer-review material included.

Late Work:

Late work is to be avoided at all costs and will be penalized one grade for each day late.  Please contact me by e-mail if you expect an assignment or portfolio will be late.  Please make backups of your work on both hard drives and flash-drives to prevent problems.  Better yet, save to the ‘cloud’.


Through peer-reviewed critiques, you will develop your writing through a process of revisions.  After assignments are graded, however, students still have the option of revising one project for up to one higher letter grade (with the exception of the Longform Webtext).  Revisions must be turned in on the date specified (TBD) you must have a conference with me first before revising.

Class Discussions:

Throughout the semester, you will be expected to engage in discussion and to respond to questions I may pose to you individually. I will make every effort to make this class a community of readers and writers, but your participation is essential to this end.  I expect you to respond to others in the class in thoughtful, judicious, and respectful ways.  Group work will also be counted as class discussion participation.  Our topics and subject matters may deal with a wide-range of sensitive topics, including issues of gender, religion, sexuality, and politics (including adult language).  If you strongly object to these issues or others’ views on these issues, this may not be the best course for you.  Please be prepared to discuss the texts in a polite and mature manner.  Religious beliefs are a personal choice.  Thus, personal declarations of religious beliefs should be limited and pertinent to the discussion at hand, if not withheld completely.  Class attendance and discussion participation will count toward your participation grade (5% for the class final grade). 


Although I do not have an official attendance policy, students are expected to attend every class and are responsible for all material covered in class. Since participation in class discussions affects a student’s final grade and since I will not repeat lectures or information on reading or writing assignments, attendance is critical.  There is often a direct correlation between success in this class and consistent attendance.  Lateness is a discourteous distraction, so please be punctual.  Continual tardiness and absences will affect your participation gradeIf you are absent, please check the WordPress blog before emailing me to get info. on homework and what we covered that day. 

Academic Integrity:

 I assume that you adhere to your own sense of ethics and honesty as you move through your college experience.  It’s true that this is the case for most students.  In the event, though, that I encounter a breach of academic integrity, I’ll decide on an appropriate penalty.  Breaches of academic integrity in this class include:

  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is theft. It includes misrepresenting the authorship of any written work, in whole or in part.
  • Falsification: Falsification is any untruth, either verbal or written in your academic work. Examples of this include lying to avoid turning work in and submitting work you have written for previous classes (without proper acknowledgment).
  • Cheating: includes copying a peer’s work or using unauthorized notes on a quiz or an exam.
  • Unauthorized Possession or Disposition of Academic Materials: includes the unauthorized selling or purchasing of papers or exams.
  • Penalties may include: mandatory revision, completing an alternative assignment, failure of the assignment, no credit for the assignment, loss of a letter grade on your final grade for the course, and/or failure of the course. In some cases, expulsion from the university is a possibility.

Note that any academic dishonesty is grounds for failing the courseAll cases of plagiarism, cheating and unauthorized possession or disposition of academic materials and some cases of falsification will be reported to the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct, where University officials will review the situation and decide on further penalties.

Honor Pledge:

This course will adhere to the Academic Integrity Policy of the Colorado State University General Catalog and the Student Conduct Code.  To remain consistent, you will have to write the following and sign (or digitally sign) every major assignment’s report:  I pledge on my honor that I have not used, received, or given any unauthorized assistance in this [assignment].

Other Notes and Expectations: 

  • This course will rely heavily on technological support.  I am attempting to make this class paperless or near paperless, so we will frequently use computers and the Internet for research, e-mail, and online discussion forums and assignments.  Although we will use WordPress and Canvas daily in this course for the daily calendar, notes, and assignment directions, you should also become familiar with the world’s largest on-line writing center, the ‘Writing Studio’, as soon as possible.  It provides writing guides, style guides, your own writing database, and plenty of other useful tools and links to helpful sites.  While the Eddy building is under reconstruction, you are recommended to use UCA G204, Clark C145, and/or Clark C141. Computer access and printing is also available in Morgan Library, Lory Student Center, and most residence halls. With these resources available, there are no printing or computer access excuses!
  • The ‘Writing Center’ is a lab to meet with advisors for your writing. The current locations are Johnson Hall Room 119D (Through Room 223) Monday – Thursday: 10am-4pm and Friday: 10am-1pm, Morgan Library Room 171 Sunday – Thursday: 6pm-8pm, and TILT Room 211 Tuesday – Thursday: 6pm-8pm.  Help is available!  Stop by in person, call 491-0222, make a scheduled reservation (https://colostate.mywconline.com/), or submit your essay online at http://writingcenter.colostate.edu/onlineconsult.html.
  • Withdrawal Policy:

No W’s will be assigned after the university’s official drop date deadline, Monday, March 23.

  • Anyone with special needs should speak to me after class or visit me during office hours this week so that I can assist you in this class, as well as advise you of appropriate services on campus.
  • Be respectful of cell phone use and mp3 players!!! Only use your phone for school/class purposes (calendars, to-do lists, etc.).  Failure to do so will count against your class participation grade and embarrassment from my public castigation.  I reserve the right to deduct one full percent (from the five available participation points) for every time I catch you texting in class.  See my cell phone policy at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hut3VRL5XRE&NR=1
  • I reserve the right to conference with individual students throughout the semester and to recommend a student visit the Writing Center (see above for locations and times).
  • Please understand that to do an adequate job of reading and commenting on multiple papers for 120+ students this semester takes time (usually one hour per portfolio and about half hour per assignment). I will get assignments back to you as soon as I can, but I appreciate your patience in this process since it may take me 2+ weeks (minimum) to get them back to you.
  • I will give you the grade you fairly earned based on the criteria of the individual assignments, not the grade you want or feel you need to graduate, please your parents or to maintain a scholarship, honors position, high GPA, or athletic eligibility, etc. The time to worry about your grade is at the beginning of the semester, not the last two weeks.


CO302 assignments provide a variety of writing experiences that you can apply to your roles as scholar, citizen, consumer and aspiring professional.  In addition to reading supplemental primary sources about rhetoric and composition in digital environments, these assignments are intended to provide you with the necessary rhetorical knowledge and skills to write for public and professional audiences.  The assignments will be explained in detail through our class WordPress blog.

Process Work

Many of the assignments will require you to make multiple drafts before a final, polished draft is turned in for credit.  I reserve the right to not accept any assignment without sufficient process work or give a deduction of a full letter grade (10%) for lack of drafts, proof of peer-review critique, and/or submitting work peer-reviewed by someone outside our class for assignments when deemed necessary.

Signing-in for Class ‘Canvas’ Web Site

If you have used Canvas for another class and you know how to log-in, you can skip to step 4.

  1. In your Internet browser address bar, enter the URL http://canvas.colostate.edu. This will take you to the log-in page for Canvas.
  2. Hit the eID Login button and enter your student eID and password, then hit the ‘Login’ button.
  3. Choose and click on our course.
  4. Follow any directions given through WordPress or stated in class. We will mostly use Canvas for class Discussion forums and the gradebook feature.

Instructions for creating a WordPress account will be given in class.


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